Monday, May 3, 2010

Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen

By Hannah W.

"The problem for me was not ignorance: it was preconceived ideas." Hans Rosling is currently a professor of global development at a medical university in Sweden. He was floored by the students and how little they truly knew about our world. He even did a test and the top students in the class knew less about their world than a chimpanzee, not to mention the other professors were also on par with the chimp.

According to the students the world is still divided into two different groups, "We" and "Them" (Western world and Third world). In the western world you are expected to have a small family and live a long life, whereas in third world you are to have a large family and have a short life. When all countries are compared they are all shifting towards the "western" way of life. Since the 1960's studies have shown that most countries are beginning to live longer lives but have smaller families. There have been incidences that have stalled the shift like the HIV epidemic, but they are still trying to better their way of life.

The gap between the rich and to poor is a total myth, it is all blended. People in the world who make less than a dollar only make up 20% of our total population and out of the total global income they only take about 2%. People who make 1 dollar to about 25 dollars makes up about 60% of the people in our world and take home 24% of the global income. The richest section who make between 25 and 100 dollars make up 20% of the world but take home 74% of the money. Africa makes up 10% of the world population and most of the people are in poverty. Latin America is the middle ground it has the richest people to the poorest. East Europe and east Asia are tied economically. Then there is the economic titans OECD, most of countries make up the U.N and are all first world.

When I read these stats it made me happy. In school you hear all the awful things that are going on in these third world counties and they try and make it seem that they will never be able to recover. But these stats show that the countries are getting better, slowly but surely. The mortality rate in children has gone way down in all countries, they are being far safer by planning their family size, and they are living much longer. Though still under the poverty line in many places, the way the stats are forming it shows that they will eventually come out of it.
From what his stats show I do not believe that things are moving along fast enough. People in Africa will still be in poverty in at least 3 generations, the 4th might be out of it but it's hard to say for sure. Without the access to the things these people need they will continue to go at the same speed of recovery.

Being knowledgeable about your world is what will make it prosper. With the proper information we will be able to help those in need, and try to figure out how they got there in the first place. This information could save those who we initially thought were unreachable.

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